Kids Helping Kids: Christopher’s Toy Drive

 Becky, shares her son Christopher’s inspiring story and why he wanted to give back to fellow patients at Connecticut Children’s this holiday season. 

img_0708We brought Chris to the ER in January 2015 after he was unable to walk. Doctors found a tumor on his spine which began a whirlwind of scans, needles and a hospital stay that, at the time, we didn’t know how long would last.

The one thing that Chris could look forward to and that we could use as a reminder to get through the next procedure, chemo or scan was the prize box and toys he received for being so brave. Kelly and the rest of the staff at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center were instrumental in helping us through one of the toughest times we have faced as a family and one way we felt we could thank them was by giving back.

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Last December, I wanted Chris to give back to the hospital in a way that was meaningful for him and something that was feasible to do year after year. He decided that a toy drive was a good idea because he always looked forward to getting a toy at the end of his visits. He wrote his letter and made a list of family and friends that he would like to ask and send his letter. After the toys were donated, he wrote thank you notes to those who donated to show his appreciation. He did the same thing this year. (Now that he is in first grade, his letter was done much more independently!) He added several people to his list and those that he asked were so excited to help him.

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The best part is seeing the excitement on Chris’ face when he looks at the toys people donated as well as when he was giving the toys to Kelly. We hope to continue this each year and that it gets a little bit bigger to be able to make even more kids smile. We are so proud of Christopher for wanting to continue this tradition and for being able to see the importance of giving back!

Why I Run

Written by Kim Karr

i-am-running-forThis Saturday, October 8, I will run the 5k portion of the EverSource Hartford Marathon on behalf of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

You all know what Connecticut Children’s means to our family, and you are aware of the fact that we have spent a considerable amount of time there with Emily since her diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease twelve years ago. She was nine years old at diagnosis and required emergency surgery and life support of TPN for nearly three weeks. She was there again at seventeen years old to treat more complications of this vicious disease. And then last year she was there again for nearly an entire month … she had two emergency surgeries, the last of which resulted in an ostomy, which she lives with still.

I am very familiar with Connecticut Children’s. I spent almost every night there with Emily, except when Marko would relieve me for a day to spend time with our sons and rest in our own bed. I am so familiar with the stinging smell of hand sanitizer, the squeaky plastic bed, the constant beep beep beep of pulse-ox monitors up and down the hallways. It’s all so familiar that I’ve almost stopped registering the details. It had become white noise. I vaguely remember the 1:00am slipper shuffle, down the hallway and into the “family kitchen” to fix some herbal tea, hoping for maybe even an hour of resulting sleep. Sometimes I would come upon another worn and worried parent who was hoping to do the same. Our shared, tired half-smiles conveyed so much more than words ever could. It’s a blur now.

What has never blurred though, is the memory of the time, the care, and the attention that Emily received while she was there. Whether it was from the top-notch doctors and nurses who saw to her every need, or the child life specialists who made sure that she had access to what made her happy – art, books, movies… Emily and every other child at Connecticut Children’s was, and IS treated like a kid who is going through a bad time … but is still a kid. A kid who is still whole. A kid who is still special.

Please click on this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbAFjZ-4ACU&sns=em because I want you to see more about Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

And then, if you can, please click on this link https://www.crowdrise.com/team-ct-childrens-EversourceHartfordMarathon2016/fundraiser/kimkaar to support my fundraising efforts for this amazing hospital. The Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Foundation helps make everything that I just described available to all children and families who need it. Fundraising and raising awareness for Type 1 Diabetes and Crohn’s Disease are front and center in my world … but fundraising for Connecticut Children’s helps me to reach all areas of pediatric disease. I am so grateful for your help.

Lastly, if you cannot donate at this time, I understand. I’ve been there. I would like to ask you to please keep these kids and families in your prayers though. I believe that it does make a difference. Thank you.

Wish me luck! It’s a long-range forecast but they’re predicting rain. That’s okay. I won’t melt. I haven’t yet 🙂